PERKINSTON — The MACJC Softball Tournament is a different beast this year, expanded to eight teams.
No. 12 Gulf Coast will open the double-elimination tournament Wednesday at noon when the Lady Bulldogs play Copiah-Lincoln. The game will be streamed at https://livestream.com/MGCCCBulldogs/events/8670629.
"It's understanding we're going to have to play a lot of games," Gulf Coast coach Kenneth Long said. "You can't have a letdown in any game. You have to play good every time."
The Lady Bulldogs (30-12, 22-6 MACJC) won five of their last six games and finished third in the conference. Co-Lin (27-14, 16-12) finished sixth in the regular season.
"We split with them here," Long said. "Every team in this tournament is going to be good. Co-Lin is good. We just have to play our game, and hopefully, we can come up and beat 'em."
The Lady Bulldogs won the first game of a doubleheader on March 20, 8-0 in five innings. They dropped the second 5-2.
This matchup will feature the two best pitching staffs in the MACJC. Co-Lin has a team ERA of 1.87, third best in the country. Gulf Coast's is 2.25, 13th best. The Bulldogs strike out 8.13 batters per seven innings, ranked second in the NJCAA, and they lead the country with an opposition batting average of .214.
"I think we're playing pretty well," Long said. "We've won some big games. I think they understand where they are as a team, and I think we'll play well."
The winner plays at 5 p.m. Thursday against the winner of the Southwest-Itawamba game. The loser plays at noon Thursday against the loser of that game.
2019 MACJC Softball Tournament
Game 1: (6) Copiah-Lincoln vs. (3) Gulf Coast, noon
Game 2: (7) Southwest vs. (2) Itawamba, 2:30 p.m.
Game 3: (8) Pearl River vs. (1) Jones, 5 p.m.
Game 4: (5) Northeast vs. (4) East Central, 7:30 p.m.
Game 5: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, noon
Game 6: Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 2:30 p.m.
Game 7: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 5 p.m.
Game 8: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 7:30 p.m.
Game 9: Game 8 loser vs. Game 5 winner, noon
Game 10: Game 7 loser vs. Game 6 winner, 2:30 p.m.
Game 11: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 5 p.m.
Game 12: Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner, 7:30 p.m.
Game 13: Game 11 loser vs. Game 12 winner, 1 p.m.
Game 14: Game 11 winner vs. Game 13 winner, 3:30 p.m.
Game 15 (if necessary): Game 14 winner vs. Game 14 loser, 6 p.m.
For more information on MGCCC's 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCBulldogs on Twitter and MGCCCBulldogs on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.